Philadelphia man wrongly convicted freed after 25 years

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A Philadelphia man is now free after spending more than two decades behind bars for a heinous crime he didn't commit. (WPVI)

A Philadelphia man is now free after spending more than two decades behind bars for a heinous crime he didn't commit.

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After almost 25 years in prison, 44-year-old Tony Wright walked out a free man Tuesday raising his arms in the air along with his lawyers and members of The Innocence Project.

"It feels unbelievable, unbelievable, man, best feeling in the world, man, I never felt like this in my entire life," Wright said.

Wright was only 20 years old when he was arrested and later convicted and sentenced to life for the horrific rape and stabbing of a neighbor, 77-year-old Louise Talley, back in October 1991.

The Innocence Project of New York fought for and secured DNA evidence which showed Wright was not the person who raped Talley.

But despite the unmistakable evidence, the District Attorney's office in 2014 decided to retry Wright anyway.

On Tuesday, it took a jury about 90 minutes to find him not guilty.

"I can't put it into words right now, man, I'm numb; this is the best day of my life," Wright told Action News.

After being lifted from a pit of darkness filled with loneliness and often fear, Wright could not thank his legal team enough who relatives say served him as some sort of avenging angels.

RELATED: 70-year-old freed after decades in prison

"We did it, I mean today is our day. Today is our day, today is our day," Wright said.

"There's a lot of false evidence that people ought to be held accountable for. But the key is the science and what The Innocence Project did in bringing forth that science," lawyer Samuel W. Silver said.

Wright enjoyed his first meal out of prison at Nomad Pizza in South Philadelphia: a salad, meatballs and pasta that he couldn't seem to get enough of.

"I waited 25 years to eat a meal like this," Wright said.

What is he looking forward to the most?

"I want to do whatever my granddaughters want to do. I want to do whatever my grandson wants to do. I just want to be grandpa. I just want to be dad," Wright said.

Wright is just four days shy of his 45th birthday.

His father, a chef, says he's going to prepare him the biggest feast he could ever imagine.
Related Topics:
newswrongful convictionjailprisonu.s. & worldPennsylvania
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